If you are just starting to blog, it can be difficult to know what mistakes amateurs make when blogging. Amateur blogs often fail because they don’t take the time to learn about their readers and provide content that is tailored for them.
In this post, I will discuss seven common mistakes made by amateur blogs and how you can avoid these errors as your blog continues to grow!
The Biggest Mistakes Amateur Blogs Make
#1: Being Passionate About Your Subject Matter
What do you want to want to blog about? What are you passionate about? That’s the first, and most important, question to ask.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing about, then your voice won’t be authentic and unique. Furthermore, if you’re not truly excited about the content you’re creating – you’re not going to want to keep creating it.
The reality is, it’s going to take some time to build up an audience and steady traffic that will allow you to monetize. So until you can turn your blog into a true business, you won’t be compensated for your effort – and you need to be comfortable with that.
Most amateur bloggers lose interest when they realize how much time and effort it takes to be a blogger. The best way to get over that hurdle is to love what you’re writing about. More than anything, you should want other people to experience your passion on a topic.
At the end of the day, if you never make a dollar from your blog, you need to be okay with that. If you are, then you’ve found something you’re truly passionate about.
#2: Choosing the Right Niche
While passion is the biggest determining factor in what you should write about, the next most important is the right niche. If you’re considering something as “travel” or “business” or “entertainment” – you need to drill down further. Put some qualifiers in front of that topic.
If you’re interested in travel – maybe your niche could be: traveling on a budget, local travel, family travel, traveling with your dog, etc…
If you’re interested in entertainment – what are you really interested in? Perhaps you could write about marvel movies, animated television series, or movies with strong female leads.
Get specific with your niche. It will help separate you from all the other bloggers in the same area as you. And it will also be a huge help when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization).
#3: No Content Plan for Your Amateur Blog
Amateur blogs often neglect to create a content plan before starting their blog, which means that they can’t effectively allocate time for creating high-quality posts and maintaining their site.
In the beginning, it may be tempting to focus on quantity. You may feel you need to post every single day. But is that really something you can do, and do well?
Focus on quality above all. Create a realistic content plan for yourself that allows you to write blog posts between 500 and 1,200 words.
Tip: Never write less than 300 words, content that is sparse won’t perform well with your readers or rank well with search engines.
Create a content calendar for yourself that you can keep up, and continually publish blog posts on the same schedule. Your readers will come to expect it, and the search engines will see that you’re putting out new content on a consistent basis.
#4: Choose the Right Platform
I’m biased when it comes to this topic. But my advice will always be WordPress. I’ve built 4 successful businesses on it, including the site you’re on right now!
Why WordPress? WordPress is easy-to-use and has a ton of free resources you can download, like plugins for email lists, contact forms, sliders, etc.
WordPress is also one of the most popular blogging platforms on the internet – over 30% of websites are run on WordPress! It may seem overwhelming when you’re getting starting, but in the long run, you’ll have more control and flexibility with WordPress. And while you may need to invest a little money to get your blog exactly as you want it, it will be a lot less money than creating a completely custom site.
Since WordPress is open-source, there’s no shortage of communities that support it. If you have questions and don’t know where to go, sign up for a Women’s Business Daily Membership. We’re WordPress experts – plus we can help you with other questions you have around blogging as well!
#5: Caring About Design and Usability
We’re naturally attracted to things that are well-designed. For example, how many times have you picked up a bottle of wine – or a new book- simply because of their design?
But design isn’t all that matters – you have to bring real value as well – and it has to be easy to use. Otherwise, you’ll lose your audience.
Keep your design simple and clean. Design doesn’t need to be flashy or complicated, it just needs to make sense for the content you’re writing about. Remember, when it comes to visual elements – less is typically more.
Use fonts that are easy to read and limit yourself to 2 font styles in your content – one for headings and one for text. It will make your site easier and more enjoyable to read.
Any photos or graphics that you’re using should be clear (no one likes a pixelated graphic!), and they should also be sized appropriately for where you’re using them. One of the biggest mistakes I see is someone uploads an image at 3000px and then displays it at 300px. Meanwhile, that’s not only hurting your site load times (which Google cares about), it’s also creating a bad user experience. Uploading photos at the size you’re displaying them at.
Tip: Use Photoshop or Canva to help with sizing images.
#6: Being a Strong Writer
You don’t have to be a great writer, but you should at least be a good writer. Even with an amateur blog, you don’t want it to sound like it was written by an amateur.
It may take some time to find your voice and learn how to write well, but it will be worth it in the end. Use tools like Grammarly to help you with the overall structure, spelling errors, and tone of your content.
It’s also a good idea to read your content out loud – this will help you identify any problems with the tone, structure, or flow. And if possible, have a friend or family member read it aloud to you. Doing this helps you to hear how other people process your content, and you’ll likely identify improvements that you can make.
Finally, use the Oxford comma (AKA the serial comma) when listing items in a list. Please. From one blogger to another, you can help with this ongoing problem. Too many people don’t include it, and it creates confusion for readers.
#7: Caring about SEO
The best way to get people reading your blog is to rank with the search engines. And the easiest way to do that? Write great content!
There are a few things you should know about SEO:
- Optimize your site for keywords by using them naturally and often throughout your post. Each blog post should focus on one unique keyword or keyphrase.
- Use Google’s Keyword Tool to find keywords related to your blog post topic that is currently generating traffic on search engines.
- Include at least one image (a featured image).
- Include a Meta Description (If you’re using WordPress, download the Yoast SEO Plugin. It will allow you to customize your Meta Description, and it’s a great guide for blog post optimization)
Want more tips? Sign up for a Women’s Business Daily Membership – we provide an SEO support community!
#8: Pay Attention to Your Analytics – Even with Amateur Blogs
What are your visitors looking for? What type of posts do they like best?
It’s helpful to know what content is generating the most traffic so you can make sure that it remains at the top. You might also notice a pattern and decide, “Hey – I should write more about this!”
The easiest way to find out how many visitors your blog posts are getting is to use Google Analytics. It’s free, and it’ll show you how many visitors each post has had over the last few months – including where they’re coming from.
There’s a lot of really great information about how to use Google Analytics – but I’m going to save that for another post.
#9: Backup Your Work
We’ve all been there. We’ve all screamed, “Noooo!,” and followed it by numerous bouts of profanity.
To help avoid these moments which can cause deep despair, I always write my content in an editor on my computer before I copy and paste it into WordPress. That way if my connection times out, or something crazy happens. My work isn’t lost.
But that’s not the only type of backup you need. You also need to backup your website. Make sure you choose a web host that offers daily backups, and if they don’t, look into a resource that does. That way if your site (knock on wood) gets hacked or you venture into your code trying to fix something (and then break your whole site), you can easily restore your site to a previous backup.
There are a number of different services that offer backups and one-click restores. I can’t recommend this functionality enough. Seriously, you’ll sleep better knowing that you have backup (pun intended).
#10: Networking with Other Bloggers
One of the best ways to grow your blog is by networking with other writers. What’s the best way to do that with amateur blogs or as a new blogger?
Comment on their posts and engage in conversation about what they wrote, or ask them a question for clarification if needed. This isn’t just polite – it can also help build relationships that might lead to more readers.
It’s also a good idea to share their content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest if you think it might be relevant for your followers. That way they’ll reach an even larger audience!
You can also join communities, like ours here at Women’s Business Daily, and you can also explore guest blogging. Guest blogging offers a number of benefits, including developing new connections with other bloggers, generating more traffic for your own blog, and helping with your Google rankings (by creating more inbound links to your site).
But don’t spam your fellow bloggers with requests and offers right out of the gate – that will likely turn them off immediately.
#11: Investing Money Into Your Blog
If you’re serious about blogging, you might want to invest some money into it.
You’ll want to buy a domain name (I use GoDaddy every time I register a URL). You’ll want to get a web host as well (I don’t recommend GoDaddy for web hosting – their servers are notoriously slow). Need help deciding on web hosting? I’m going to write an article on it soon, but feel free to reach out to me and I can give you a few hosts to check out!
You also should consider hiring a graphic designer to create a logo for you, and a web designer who can make sure that your site represents your branding while being user-friendly and optimized. Need help with this? Shameless plug here, check out Excite Creative Studios. I’m the founder and creative director there – and our team would love to help you!
While it may cost a little upfront to get going, you’ll be set up for success from day 1. Then, you can focus on what you really want to do, create content.
Amateur Blogs: In Conclusion
I hope this blog post has helped you get a clear picture of all the things you need to consider when you’re starting an amateur blog. It’s totally possible to turn blogging into a full-time gig for yourself. And if you can avoid these blog mistakes, you’ll be successful in growing your traffic!
On a personal note, I’ve been blogging since 1998, I’ve learned a lot from the mistakes I’ve made over the years as well as the successes I’ve had. I’ve owned multiple blogs that have received over 500,000 unique visits a month, and I truly geek out over all the data that goes into creating that type of traffic. Have questions about anything above? Leave a comment below, I’m happy to help provide additional tips and clarification!
Emily Sprinkle, also known as Emma Loggins, is a designer, marketer, blogger, and speaker. She is the Editor-In-Chief for Women's Business Daily where she pulls from her experience as the CEO and Director of Strategy for Excite Creative Studios, where she specializes in web development, UI/UX design, social media marketing, and overall strategy for her clients.
Emily has also written for CNN, Autotrader, The Guardian, and is also the Editor-In-Chief for the geek lifestyle site FanBolt.com